From JULIA’S CATS
To Julia’s surprise, Roo de Loo came with a maid—and mice in the kitchen. Neither woman could tolerate souris scampering among the pots and pans, so one rainy day the frizzy-haired femme de ménage bumped up the kitchen stairs with a large market basket on her arm. Could a warm brioche, a spicy country pâté, pain au chocolat, or some other delectable edible be inside? No, this basket held something more delicious. Jeanne lifted the lid, and a black-and-mud-colored ball of fur emerged. Two glittering green eyes traveled up and up and up until they met Julia’s. A pussycat! It was love at first sight.
Jeanne patiently explained that French housewives relied on cats to control the mice, and they usually just called them Minou (Pussy). She shrugged and left Julia gazing at her adorable new mousetrap. The cat stared back but couldn’t be coaxed from the basket. When Julia finally gave up and went to stir her simmering stockpot, the kitty’s curiosity took over, and it leaped to a shelf above the stove and crouched next to a mixing bowl.
When Paul returned from the embassy for lunch, as he did most days, they embraced as if they’d been apart for months, not a few hours. Julia gleefully introduced him to Minou, the purrrrfect answer to their mouse-control problem. Paul studied the newcomer carefully and delivered some interesting news—Monsieur Pussycat was a mademoiselle. Without missing a beat, Julia rechristened her “Minette” and set two steaming bowls of soup on the table.
She had been bending over her stove all morning trying to duplicate the velvety mushroom soup they devoured at their favorite restaurant the night before. She pulled a baguette from Paul’s raincoat pocket, tore the crusty loaf into chunks, and sliced big wedges of strong-smelling Roquefort. She filled two tumblers from an open bottle of red wine and joined him at the table, fretting about the potage. It smelled scrumptious, but was full of lumps. Maybe it was the roux—was it hot broth added to flour paste, or the other way around? Paul took a spoonful, paused, then let his diplomatic training kick into gear. Lumpy, but still very tasty. He kissed her hand and told her not to worry so much. Julia vowed to try again even if it took all afternoon. Paul, sensing another chance to show husbandly support, volunteered to be her guinea pig and taste every batch.
From her safe perch, the hungry cat watched and waited. Finally, she bounded to the floor and onto Paul’s lap. From under the table’s edge, her nose rested just inches from his bowl and the crumbled cheese on the plate. With one flick of her paw, she scooped a chunk into her mouth, then eyed the bowl of soup.
Julia took the hint, spooned some soup into a saucer, and set it on the floor. She watched anxiously, worried that even a starving cat might find her soup wanting. At first Minette ignored the soup, seeming content on Paul’s lap. Suddenly she slid to the floor, dipped a delicate paw into the soup, and raised a lump to her mouth, chewed deliberately, then lapped the saucer until it gleamed. Paul marveled at Minette’s elegant French airs while Julia refilled the saucer—and their bowls.
--from Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats by Patricia Barey and Therese Burson © 2012 by permission of ABRAMS. All rights reserved.
What did Julia Child love most? Paul, life in France, or her many feline companions? According to Patricia Barey and Therese Burson, the authors of Julia’s Cats, she had a heart large enough for all of that, and more.
As irresistible as Julia herself and filled with never-before-heard stories and anecdotes, this book reveals another wonderful side of the woman who captured so many of our hearts as she helped us master the art of French cooking. More than a tale about Julia’s beloved cats—from Minette, whom the Childs brought into their first Paris apartment as a mouser, to Minou, the kitten who was with her at her death in Santa Barbara in 2004—Julia’s Cats will make all who read it fall in love with Julia all over again. B/w photos.
Hardcover Book : 144 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. ( April 01, 2012 )
Item #: 13-515864
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.0 inches
Product Weight: 11.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
For anyone who loves cats - you will come to appreciate Julia Child's fondness for felines. And if you don't love cats....you just may find yourself thinking they aren't too bad (she herself didn't take to them until she was married they moved to Paris!). This book was a great mix of biography with a keen focus on the cat's in Julia and Paul's life. The couple's loving relationship was an absolute delight to read about. A great look at the "everyday" happenings in their home through the success and sorrows. And a prime example of how pets can make it all better.It was simply a joy to read.